Change: David

Change: David
A Message on 2 Samuel 7:8-17
For Jacksonville First United Methodist Church
July 4, 2021
By Doug Wintermute
dwinterm@yahoo.com

2 Samuel 7:8-17 (NRSV)

8 Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; 9 and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. When he commits iniquity, I will punish him with a rod such as mortals use, with blows inflicted by human beings. 15 But I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever. 17 In accordance with all these words and with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.

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Today as we continue our sermon series on change we are going to take a look at the life of King David and how he experienced change.

David was the youngest of seven or eight sons of Jesse. (1 Samuel 16 says he had eight sons, while 1 Chronicles 2 lists the names of seven. Either way it was a bunch.)

David becomes famous as a young man who went from being a shepherd to being the one that killed Goliath, a giant of a man, using only a sling. That took a lot of bravery.

But David is also the one God chooses to be king over Israel. This happens while Saul was still serving as king, and we read about how Saul got jealous of David and tried to kill him with a javelin. David has to run and hide. David has a couple of great opportunities to kill Saul, but each time he refuses to do so.

In the scripture we read today from 2 Samuel we find the prophet Nathan speaking to David, with Nathan telling him what God has revealed to him (Nathan).

If we read earlier in the chapter we find that David wants to build a temple for God, and at first Nathan gives him that go-ahead and that it’s a good idea. But then that night God tells Nathan that David isn’t the one to build the temple, but that David’s son is the one who will do it.

In our reading today we find kind of a synopsis of David’s life, but we also find a promise: “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.”

And this does come to pass, as Solomon, David’s son (but not his oldest son, ironically) does become king and does build the temple. But God also says, “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

This is one of the really neat things about scripture, for at the time it talks about Solomon, David’s son, being king, but it also is a prophecy about someone else who is referred to as the Son of David: Jesus!

Matthew’s gospel includes the genealogy of Jesus all the way back to Abraham, and David is listed in that. And Matthew includes that as further proof that Jesus is the messiah, the promised one of Israel.

David certainly saw change in his life. From obscure shepherd to hero against Goliath, from trusty confidant to King Saul (David used to play the lyre, or harp, to settle Saul down when we had what we would call panic attacks or depression) to fleeing for his life from the king himself.

David’s life is full of ups and downs, highs and lows. Even after he is king he has to flee from his own son who tries to overthrow him. And then there’s the whole Bathsheba affair (literally) where lust causes him to have one of his own soldiers killed.

David wasn’t perfect, and he admitted it. And yet he is still known as a “man after God’s own heart.”

None of us are perfect. We all sin because we are all human. And yet too often we let the guilt of our sin keep us from serving God. We say things like, “God can’t use me after the things I’ve done.”

That simply isn’t true. God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. God used David, a simple shepherd who wasn’t perfect, to be king of Israel and to establish a throne that would last forever many generations later through Jesus Christ.

What matters is the heart. David was a man after God’s own heart, and we should be a people after God’s own heart. Yes, our lives will be like a roller coaster ride with its ups and downs, good times and bad, but through it all we should be faithful to God and his son, Jesus Christ, who went to the cross for us.

As Christians, we are called to be followers of Jesus Christ, the messiah, who came to earth and did establish a throne that will last forever. Human governments come and go, but God’s love for us as expressed through Jesus Christ is forever.

So my challenge for you this week, as we celebrate the birth of our nation today, is to remember that while it’s great to be an American and have patriotic pride in our country and to celebrate its founding, it is more important to be a Christian and to work towards God’s kingdom on earth. We are called to be like David and be a people after God’s own heart, knowing that even in our imperfections we are made right with God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

And that is something that is really worth celebrating.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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